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Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA

Lake Charles


The Arts Council functions as an umbrella organization to over sixty nonprofit arts organizations and countless artists and co-ops throughout the five parish region. If you’ve ever been to the Black Heritage Festival, visited the Art Associates Gallery, acted on stage for the Lake Charles Little Theatre, or enjoyed a performance from the McNeese Banners Cultural Series, you have been affected by our services and grants.

  1. We support the arts and cultural initiatives and programs you enjoy.

  2. We facilitate annual events and festivals that bolster tourism and economic growth within the region.
    The arts can be utilized as catalysts for urban and rural development and they generate livability for an area which can attract new businesses, encourage civic involvement, and increase tourism dollars.

    Our events include:
      • Poetry Out Loud: An arts education program facilitated by the Arts Council on behalf of the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and it challenges high school students to memorize and recite poetry competitively in a tiered nationwide contest.
      • Live @ the Lakefront Concert Series: A music festival co-presented by the Arts Council and the City of Lake Charles which features local and regional musicians and bands for three Fridays at the Lakefront Promenade.
      • Spring Art Walk: An annual downtown art walk which showcases over 100 local artists and turns dozens of downtown restaurants, businesses, coffee houses, and even vacant buildings into art galleries for the evening. A competitive art war competition is also held.
      • Arts & Crabs Fest: As one of only three crab festivals in Louisiana, this unique festival celebrates the rebirth of SWLA’s seafood industry after the 2010 BP oil spill and the 2005 and 2008 hurricanes, and it features local restaurants preparing crab dishes paired with Abita beers, live music, and art displays. Co-presented by the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau.
      • Gallery Promenade: A fall gallery walk that showcases art spaces and galleries across the Lake Area as they open their doors for an extensive and simultaneous reception for their current hanging exhibits.
      • Mayor’s Arts Awards: Mayor Randy Roach recognizes and honors those working diligently in the SWLA arts scene with awards for Artist of the Year, Citizen of the Arts, Citizen of the Humanities, Patron of the Year, Arts Organization of the Year, Arts Educator of the Year, and the Keystone Award which honors those who work behind the scenes.
      • ArtsFest: A free children’s art festival co-presented by the City of Lake Charles which fosters an interest in learning by engaging SWLA children in creating art projects centered around each year’s theme. Past themes include global cultures, SWLA workforce, astronomy, and multicultural holidays.
      • Holiday Art Market: Located at Central School, the Holiday Art Market offers an array of fine and handmade items by local artists, with 10% of the proceeds benefiting a Lake Area organization
  3. We act as a clearinghouse of resources and information for artists, arts organizations, and cultural projects.
  4. We act as the region’s voice in the statewide arena for arts funding advocacy.
  5. We believe the arts translate easily into economic growth.

The Arts & Humanities Council is supported by the City of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. The support of these organizations, and the patronage of the public, allows the Arts Council to achieve its mission.